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On a roll: Bowling with a senior league

by: JIM CLARK/PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Members of the AARP League are found Friday Summer league play starts in May.

Frances Trexler isn’t overly concerned about how many pins she knocks down. She’s an average bowler, “137 or so,” says the Northeast Portland resident, who lives a few blocks away from Hollywood Bowl, where she and her husband, Richard, bowl Friday mornings with the AARP League.

Richard, on the other hand, “bowls in the 180s to the 200s,” Frances says. He was a bowling coach when they met 15, maybe 17, years ago, when they bowled Thursday nights with the Hot Shots League. Frances was practicing, and Richard offered to help her, but she wasn’t interested. “I turned down his first two offers,” Frances says.

It wasn’t until the third bowling season after they met that she changed her mind and asked Richard for some coaching. Then he asked her out to dinner. Fast-forward to Valentine’s Day 2013: Frances, 60, and Richard, 62, got married.

That brings them to the AARP League, which they’ve bowled with for a couple of years now. “We have 11 members and four teams of three,” Frances says, noting there used to be more. It’s not a sanctioned league, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the national organization AARP, other than it’s made up of seniors. The main point is to have fun, its members agree.

“This league is a blast, so much fun,” says Frances, echoing her friend Roni Ault, 71, who worked at Hollywood Bowl’s restaurant 20 years ago and whose husband taught her to bowl.

Her bowling average is only about 120, Roni says, “but I have fun.”

“Fun is better — who cares?” Frances adds.

by: JIM CLARK: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Lillian Erdman, 87, of Northeast Portland started bowling in 1989.

Some of these folks have bowled for the better part of their lives. Jim Allinson of Southeast Portland has bowled about 51 of his 74 years. Burnie Smith, 85, of Jantzen Beach has bowled since the 1960s.

Lillian Erdman, 87, of Northeast Portland started bowling in 1989. A retired nurse’s aide, she decided she needed to get out more, so she started going to Hollywood Bowl, not far from her home. “I’m not good, but it’s more of a fun way to exercise,” Lillian says.

The league’s regular bowling season runs from August to the end of April. There’s a summer league that starts in May, though some players, including Frances and Roni, take a break. “Then we start again right after Labor Day,” Roni says.